Antony Valerian and Tallal Shammout:
Mama said don't yell at us
18 September—30 October 2021

We are pleased to invite you to the opening of the double exhibition Mama said don't yell at us by the artists Antony Valerian and Tallal Shammout. The exhibition opening will take place as part of the SpinnereiGalerien's joint openings throughout the weekend on 18 and 19 September.

The artists Antony Valerian and Tallal Shammout, who are friends, both studied in Daniel Richter's Extended Painting Space class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. They are now showing current works together at the Josef Filipp Gallery. While Antony Valerian presents a haunting, figurative portrait painting in his very own style, Tallal Shammout presents enigmatic, illusionistic pictorial worlds that are based on a sophisticated methodology and preceded by months of experimentation. We invite you to explore the characteristic features of these two positions and their respective approaches to pictorial space, pictorial surface and pictorial idea.

Antony Valerian develops his motifs on canvas and wood in rough, free brushstrokes and with strong colours. The painting process is an open one; templates and pictorial ideas merely provide impulses, as do painterly decisions, moods and inspirations from pop/culture and the artist's everyday life. The results are open, dynamic representations and an original form of portrait as well as landscape painting. The dual existence of modern painting in the form of a simultaneity of the materiality of the image, which in itself appeals to the senses, and illusion is realised through Valerian's processual way of working, which gives and leaves space on the surface of the painting for the development of form together with its performative aspect. Valerian's paintings acquire a mysterious density through a frequently multi-layered and irregular application of paint; the free, at first even carefree brushstroke leads to astonishingly mobile representations that give space to very different moods and narratives.

In the exhibition Mama said don't yell at us, Antony Valerian presents the new series Mona Lisa's Hands. On large-format wooden panels, the artist presents different portraits that intertwine the compositions and motifs of two quite different originals: He interweaves the hands of the Mona Lisa [La Cioconda, the Cheerful One] and their composition of a picture-filling figure in the foreground and scenic stylisation in the background with the pictorial composition and figure representation in a photograph by the French artist Dora Maar from 1935, whose work only subsequently found fame and recognition. The surrealism and extravagant narrative of Maar's photographic work is preserved in Valerian's series and is reflected in the different works, each in its own way. [...]

The spontaneous view of Tallal Shammout's pictorial works poses a riddle. The artist's approach is explorative: exploratory and experimental—and characterised by a fascination for the illusionistic pictorial space on the one hand and the manifold techniques of creating pictorial effects with colour on the other. In his artistic practice, Shammout makes use of very different media, dyes and techniques. The basis of each painting is the direct work with colour, which in dripping processes is sometimes subject to contingency, sometimes to moments of control. Spontaneous and uncontrolled forms of colour application alternate with well thought-out working steps, such as scanning processes, further photographic procedures or the addition of special materials such as reflective beads, in order to create their own glow from the pictures.

The results are works in which very different influences, technical refinements and thoughts dissolve into psychedelic or neoarchaic compositions. Five large-format C-prints in particular stand out in terms of their size and effect. Maximally two-dimensional on photographic paper, Shammout's mixed technique of painting and photographic methods creates in these images amazingly expansive spatial illusions and deep-spatial structures whose aesthetics tip over into eerie science-fictionesque environments. [...]

Antony Valerian *1992 in Hamburg, DE, lives and works in Berlin
2010 Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, AT, with Daniel Richter,
class Extended Painting Space
2018 M.A., Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with Daniel Richter
2020 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, New York

Tallal Shammout *1999 in Vienna, AT, lives and works in Vienna
2015 Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with Daniel Richter,
class Extended Painting Space
2020 Completion of studies with Daniel Richter at the Academy of
Fine Arts Vienna
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